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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 15, 1980

JOURNAL OF V. I. DROZDENKO - RECORD OF CONVERSATION WITH V. CAZACU, MEMBER OF THE RCP CC POLITICAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

This document was made possible with support from the Blavatnik Family Foundation, Leon Levy Foundation

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    Conversations between V. Cazacu from the RCP CC Political Executive Committee and V. I. Drozdenko, USSR Ambassador in the SSR. Discussions include Soviet-Romanian economic cooperation, the conflict over Romania’s non-class approach to historical studies, and the "Bessarabian question." The Soviet leadership asked for a cessation of publication of materials in which Romania claims its historic rights over Moldavia.
    "Journal of V. I. Drozdenko - Record of Conversation with V. Cazacu, Member of the RCP CC Political Executive Committee," March 15, 1980, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Document No. 7 in Gheorghe Negru, “Disputa dintre URSS si RSR privind tratarea istoriei relatiilor ruso- si soviet-române” [The Dispute Between the USSR and the RSR Regarding the Historical Treatment of Russo- and Soviet-Romanian Relations], Destin românesc [Romanian Destiny], no. 3-4 (2010), pp. 204-207; Archive of the Social-Political Organizations in Moldova [AOSPRM], fond 51, inv. 54, dosar 7, filele 48-54. Translated for CWIHP by Larry L. Watts. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114164
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From the Journal of V. I. Drozdenko

Top Secret. Ex. No. 1
15 March 1980
Dissemination No. 235

Record of Conversation with V. Cazacu, 
Member of the RCP CC Political Executive Committee

12 March 1980

I visited V. Cazacu and discussed the following with him:

V. Cazacu announced that the RCP leadership designated by I. Verdet, SRR Prime Minister, to conduct negotiations with Cde. Tikhonov A. N. regarding the further development of Romanian-Soviet economic cooperation.

The Romanian side starts from the premise that the perspectives for economic and commercial ties during the next five-year plan will constitute the object of the negotiations, the aspects studied regarding cooperation in the domain of production between our countries, in general lines, the extension and deepening of Romanian-Soviet economic relations in the spirit of the understanding between Cde. L. I. Brezhnev and N. Ceausescu.

I. Verdet is ready to leave for Moscow and asks that acceptable terms for this be communicated to him, as well as the composition of the Soviet delegation to the respective negotiations in order to establish the composition of the delegation that will accompany him.

V. Cazacu said that if the Soviet comrades so desire, the meeting could take place in Bucharest.

Thanking him for the message, I declared that I would transmit it to Moscow without delay.

Then, in conformity with my mission, I made the following declaration:

As is known, the leadership of our parties has reached an understanding regarding the cessation of publication of materials in which attempts are made to provide the basis for “historic rights” over some territories which form component parts of the USSR. During the meeting with L. I. Brezhnev in Crimeea in August 1979, N. Ceausescu confirmed the decision “to put an end once and for all to such publications.”

In spite of that, books and articles continue to appear in Romania, even after the Crimeea meeting, whose authors try again and again to raise doubts about the legality of the incorporation of Bessarabia and northern Bucovina into the USSR, “to demonstrate,” in barely disguised form, that these territories are part of the “ethnic Romanian space” etc.

At the same time, attempts have been mounted to justify the actions of the leadership circles of Royal Romania on the eve of the Second World War and, at the same time, to present in a false light Soviet foreign policy in the years before and immediately after the war. The Romanian army, during the period of its participation in the anti-Soviet war, is presented as being “humane,” “democratic,” and its actions “up to the Nistru” as enjoying the support of the people and having a “just” character.

Affirmations of this sort are found, among others, in the books that were published not long ago:From the Military History of the Romanian People , volumes 5-6 (under the editorship of I. Ceausescu[1]); World History. The Modern Period, The Years 1939-1945 , volume 2; St. Lache and Gh. Tutui, Romania and the Paris Peace Conference in 1946 , in some materials published in the journals, History Annals, History Review .

As is known, the facts demonstrate the contrary. The Royal Romanian Army, together with the Wehrmacht of Hitler, attacked the USSR in June 1941, pursuing aggressive, annexationist aims, and participated for more than three years in the anti-Soviet war. The temporarily occupied territories were subjected to depredation and devastations; hundreds of thousands of Soviet people, among them women, children and old people, were exterminated. The Royal Romanian troops who acted on the territory of the Moldavian SSR and in a series of Ukrainian regions installed a regime that differed little, from the perspective of terrors and depredations, from the annexationist policy of the German-Fascist occupiers.

Accounting for the sentiments of the Romanian people, we have sought to avoid, to the degree possible, reminding them of these deeds. That, however, does not mean that they are forgotten.

We firmly believe that historical studies and publications should serve the end of consolidating friendship and friendly ties between the CPSU and the RCP, between the Soviet Union and Romania, and not to obtain an unhealthy political resonance, placing obstacles in the normal development of Soviet-Romanian relations.

The continued editing in Romania of books and of articles which denature historical events referring to the Soviet Union and justify aggressive, annexationist actions of leadership circles in bourgeois-landholder Romania provokes confusion and legitimate indignation in the Soviet Union. The artificial aggravation of tension regarding issues of the frontiers and nurturing of nationalist sentiments are incompatible with the character of relations between our parties and countries. They serve the interests of those forces that would desire to undermine Soviet-Romanian friendship, and they provoke confusion between us, speculating on the fact that between the USSR and Romania there are, in disguised fashion, unresolved territorial problems; they provoke damage also in the international education of working people.

Between the Soviet Union and Romania there are no territorial problems, on the contrary, there exist all the premises for the continual development of friendship and cooperation. Romanian leaders have repeatedly pronounced themselves in this same spirit. Nevertheless in Romania, despite existing understandings, there continue to appear publications which do not at all serve the attainment of this goal, and they cannot remain without an adequate reaction from our part.

After he listened attentively, V. Cazacu said the following:

Thank you, I will inform the leadership of our party.

As regards myself, I want, first of all, to mention that, evidently, there does exist all the premises and understandings at the highest level that assure the multilateral development of the relations between our parties in the spirit of the principles which we promote – mutual respect and cooperation in bilateral and multilateral plans.

Regarding this problem, matters stand as follows. You have cited the affirmation of N. Ceausescu during the meetings of last year with Cde. L. I. Brezhnev on the decision to “put an end to such publications,” but you forgot to note the fact that the Soviet side also expressed agreement not to publish such materials. In spite of this understanding, many articles and monographs appear which contain a series of erroneous theses referring to Romania. I will mention only the principal aspects.

In the first place, regarding the way in which the formation of the Romanian language and of the Romania people is treated in your country – “its continuity in the Carpatho-Danubian space.” There appear many problems in connection with your treatment of the war of 1877-1878, when Romania won its state independence. You insistently cite a series of our party documents from the interwar period which we do not even recognize; Romania is labeled an imperialist state, although it has never been one; there is talk of a Romanization, but who are we Romanizing – Romanians? The foreign policy of Romania in the years 1918-1941 is described in your country in a global and unfavorable light, as being entirely reactionary, when it also had positive aspects and nuances. We have no interest to justify the activity of reactionary, bourgeois Romanian circles or to falsify the foreign policy of the Soviet Union.

You named several works that we have published, we will look into these materials. I request, however, that you look with attention at what is appearing in your own country in this regard: the respective publications are much more numerous in your country. If this phenomenon is not ended by you, then we, certainly, cannot forbid our historians from writing. If we reached understanding, let’s implement it, but on both sides, respecting the historical truth and in the interests of the development of friendship between our parties, countries and peoples. In your country, however, in 1979 and at the beginning of the current year, a great number of materials in the spirit described have appeared, and I can bring numerous examples.

Referring to the problem at hand, a certain understanding was reached during the visit of the CPSU delegation to Bucharest in October 1978. Last year, the problem was again raised with N. Ceausescu, who underscored the necessity of respecting the engagements by both parties. Now again we are told that we are not respecting them. If we are accused of that [unilaterally], the problems will not be resolved, you must also examine your publications and respect the understanding.

In response, I [Drozdenko] said:

You have spoken about falsifications admitted, in various forms, in the treatment of auxiliary issues connected with the history of our countries and about the transgression, it seems, by Soviet historians of the existing understandings in this sense, which has provoked a reaction of response from Romanian historians.

In truth, we do work on the issues connected with Russo-Romanian and Soviet-Romanian relations. It is known that in the history of these relations there are complicated aspects. We have always considered and we consider important that the historians of our countries should broach these aspects with delicacy, placing the accent on what demonstrates the deep roots of friendship between our peoples, the ties between progressive, revolutionary forces, between the communists of our countries, the mutual support and common struggle of our peoples against fascism, for liberty and progress, for socialism and communism.

I wish to underscore that hostile theses in addressing Romania and, even more so, territorial pretensions against it are not admitted in the works of our savants. Probably, some historians have used expressions in a series of cases exaggerated by emotion, however the character of the treatment of the issues tied to history in Soviet historical literature is friendly towards Romania, towards its people and corresponds to the objective conditions of a class approach to history as science. Our historians, including those of MSSR [Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic], do not admit, for example, affirmations that Moldavians live in Romania (V. Cazacu observed here that “the Moldavians of Moldova are Romanians”).[2] Our appeal does not speak about the different treatment of historical questions, but about the materials in which oblique territorial pretensions on the Soviet Union are exposed and which undertake efforts to place doubt on the legitimacy of some parts of the territory of MSSR and of the Ukraine belonging to the Soviet Union. It speaks, likewise, about the denatured interpretation of the foreign policy of the USSR in the above-mentioned period.

The respective issues have more of a political than historical importance. This was said repeatedly to the Romanian comrades, in friendly fashion, including within the framework of the meetings of Cde. L. I. Brezhnev with N. Ceausescu in 1978 and 1979 and in the negotiations of our delegations in October 1978.

I wish to say once more that the territorial problem between our countries was resolved long ago and no longer exists. Regarding history, just as N. Ceausescu says, we must “transform it into an instrument of rapprochement and friendship of peoples.” The level of our relations, the spirit of fraternal friendship, the character of cooperation between our parties and states permits us to resolve this problem.

V. Cazacu again insisted on the fact that the above-mentioned understanding must be respected “by both sides,” that after October 1978 there were many materials published in the Soviet Union that damage, in disguised fashion, Romanian interests and, in consequence, their historians could not fail to react, but that “in our country such material is not published in the same quantity nor to the same degree as in yours.” (V. Cazacu cited no concrete examples.)

Regarding the participation of Romania in the anti-Soviet war, he remarked that “the people should not be confounded with the leading circles of the time,” “we turned our arms against and liberated ourselves from Fascism.” Referring to territorial pretensions in Romanian historiography, V. Cazacu declared: “We know where the truth lies in this issue.”

I rejected the respective affirmations in the spirit of that mentioned above.

The RCP CC Secretary opined that the common approach to the questions tied to the history of our countries must be identified by the Romanian-Soviet commission of historians. For example, he added, they must now collaborate with a view to the future Congress of Historical Sciences that will take place in August [1980] in Bucharest.

During the conversation, V. Cazacu was visibly irritated, although he tried to seem calm.

Making his farewell, he requested that I transmit greetings and the most sincere wishes from his part to Cde. C. V. Rusakov, CPSU CC secretary.

V. Buga, instructor of the RCP CC Section for Relations with Foreign Countries, and V. A. Demenciuk, counselor of the Soviet Embassy, assisted in the conversation.

USSR Ambassador in the SRR (signature) V. Drozdenko

[1] Translator’s note: While General Ilie Ceausescu had overall responsibility for the series as head of the parent institute – the Center for Military History and Theory – he was listed only as the “coordinator” rather than editor. The actual editor of the series was Captain (later Major in same post) Ioan Talpes. The title of the series was Pages From The Military History of the Romanian People and its contributors included both military and civilian historians, the latter category including Ion Ardeleanu, Florin Constantiniu, Hadrian Daicoviciu, Lajos Demeny, Stefan Lache, Liviu Maior, Viorica Moisuc, Camil Muresan, Mircea Musat, Stefan Pascu, Mihai Retegan, and Pompiliu Teodor. Volume 5-6 referred to here was published at the Military Publishing House in Bucharest in 1979.

[2]Translator’s note: In conformity with common usage at the time, the terms “Moldavia” and “Moldova” are used to differentiate the territory and populations residing in the Moldavian SSR and in the northeastern province of Moldova in Romania. However, the Romanian language used in Romania proper as well as in Moldavia/Moldova employs the same term (“Moldova”) for both, and before the Russian empire extended into the region in the 18th century the term “Moldova” referred to one territorial unit that included both Romanian Moldova and most of the territory that eventually comprised the Moldavian SSR (as well as the Bugeac region now in Ukraine). After 1989 the US State Department Geographer officially established the English name of the new independent state as the Republic of Moldova while referring to the Romanian province as “Moldavia” for purposes of differentiation, thus reversing previous practice. This translation likewise uses the terms “Moldavians” and “Moldovans” to differentiate between the majority inhabitants of the Moldavian SSR and the Romanian province in conformity with common American usage at that time, although both referred to themselves as Moldovans then and now.